Sound Phobias

Many dogs are sound phobic and frightened of loud unpredicatable noises like fireworks and thunderstorms. They are understandably frightened by these novel noises as they do not understand that they are not going to harm them.


Our behaviour can exacerbate this. If we change our behaviour & become anxious when these noises occur this can teach our pet to be.

In many cases at the first sign of your dog being distressed by noise then starting a game or providing a food treat that will take some time to consume (eg filled kong) may be enough to distract your pet & give them something more enjoyable to occupy themselves.If your dog seeks your company & reassurance then it wil help to provide this but if your dog does not seek it then it may be best to avoid initiating attention as this could then be interpreted as that there somethng to be worth worrying about.


 Obviously drawing the curtains, having the radio on, toys and other distractions and providing a safe 'den' the dog can seek refuge in may crate (keep door open)  covered by a towel, or similiar hiding place created using a table and a blanket. Avoid keeping your dog in a room with large windows/ velux windows where it may be harder to reduce the sounds & sights of fireworks.


We often do not know peoples pets have nosie phobia until just before the 5th November/31st December when there is little training or counter conditioning that we can do to try & train a dog into not being scared of loud noises and have litle option but to use drug treatments. There are some new treatments available for noise phobia that are best started early if a dog shows distress that can not easily be managed - this may then stop the problem getting worse year on year as the nosie phobia becomes a learned behaviour. This can get worse as

dogs age and in older arthritic dog the presence of painful joints that hurt if they get agitated & move suddenly can add to their distress.

For dogs that get very distressed then medication may be needed. Please arrange to see a vet well in advance if you feel that your dog needs medication. 


Ideally a dog should learn that noises are not frightening and this needs to be done well in advance of their exposure and is best done when your puppy is young and being socialised. The dogs trust have produced a booklet describing how to counter-conditon, or to get your dog gently accustomed to strange noises. This website includes recordings of fireworks and other strange noises (traffic, crying babies) which you may like to use. Remember to start quiet!


This site contains information on managing firework night